So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king's letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry1 with me.
When Sanballat2 the Horonite and Tobiah3 the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.4
I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days512
I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.
By night I went out through the Valley Gate6 toward the Jackala Well and the Dung Gate,7 examining the walls8 of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.
Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate9 and the King's Pool,10 but there was not enough room for my mount to get through;
so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate.
The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.11 Come, let us rebuild the wall12 of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.13"
I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me14 and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.